London has many amazing markets which attract locals and visitors alike all throughout the year. No matter where you are in the city, it’s likely that you’ll be within walking distance of a market, whether it’s a small street lined with local fresh produce stalls or one of the larger and more iconic hotspots.
You can pick up almost anything at London’s markets, from international street food and fresh produce to clothing, homeware and antiques. And with special events and festivals taking place at the markets all year round, they never fail to make a great day out!
So today I’ve decided to share my list of 12 of the best London markets you absolutely shouldn’t miss…
Borough Market, which is located in Southwark just a few minutes away from London Bridge, is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century.
The market is still as relevant today as it has ever been. There are over 100 stalls selling fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheeses, bread and alcohol, as well as speciality traders from across the world.
Even if you’re not after fresh produce, Borough Market is a great place to pick up a delicious cooked lunch, with plenty of food traders on-site, fresh juices or even a cup of Pimms to enjoy wandering around the market on a sunny day.
Borough Market is open lunch-time only on Monday and Tuesdays, while the full market is open 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Saturday.
Must Eat at Borough Market: Comptoir Gourmand, Le Marché du Quartier and Furness Fish Markets
Annie and Hatty from London-based blog ‘Knickers & Shift’ shared their favourite food from Borough Market:
Annie – ‘I really love a mille-feuille. So much so that our family point them out every time we go past a patisserie. So Comptoir Gourmand, with its eye-catching display and custardy, flakily perfect pastry, is a winner for me. The sweet delicacy of the mille-feuille helps me to imagine I’m in France, not next to the Thames (as nice as it is!)’
Hatty – ‘For me, its the duck confit at Le Marché du Quartier that draws me in every time. That delicious marriage of creamy blue cheese, salty duck and the tang of rocket send my tastebuds on a journey that I can’t turn down. Topped off with a glass of bubbles from Cartwright Brothers Vintners next door, its the perfect way to spend an afternoon regardless of the weather.’
Both – ‘Crucially though, neither of us can resist the oysters from Furness Fish Markets. And that’s why Borough Market is the best way in London to get a great value three-course meal.’
Maltby Street Market
Located in Bermondsey, just a 15-20 minute walk away from Borough Market, Maltby Street Market owes much of it’s success to its near-by big brother. Due to Borough Market’s ever-growing popularity, several street food traders decided to move up the road and set up stalls under the railway arches near Maltby Street, leading to the opening of Maltby Street Market back in 2010.
Now this small but compact weekend street food market is probably one of the prettiest street food markets in London, with the railway arches adorned with rows of colourful bunting dancing in the breeze above the bustling market underneath, giving it an almost village fete type vibe.
There is a diverse variety of food and drinks on offer at Maltby Street Market, from succulent beef at The Beefsteaks and DEVI’s plant-focused slow food, to the unique Dhan Waffle (described as cake crossed with waffle meets doughnut) and even gin cocktails at Little Bird Gin.
Open Saturdays 9am to 5pm and Sundays 11am to 5pm.
Must Eat at Maltby Street Market: New-York style sandwiches from Sub Cult
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sub Cult is my absolute favourite street food in London! Their soft American deli-style sub rolls loaded with innovative ingredients are made fresh in front of your eyes and will without a doubt having you falling head over heels in love at first bite. My favourite has to be the mouthwateringly delicious Rodeo Sub, filled with aged sirloin steak, truffle mayo, provolone cheese, shallot marmalade, pickled chillies and rocket.
And if you don’t believe me, believe the host of accolades and awards Sub Cult have picked up over the last few years, including winning the best sandwich at the ‘British Street Food Awards’, as well as featuring in both TimeOut and The Evening Standard’s lists of best sandwiches in London.
You’ll find Sub Cult at Maltby Street Market on Saturdays.
Camden Town is well known for its iconic market, drawing in locals and tourists alike throughout the year. Camden Market actually refers to several adjoining markets that compromise the majority of Camden Town and attract around a quarter of a million visitors every week, making it not only one of the best markets in London but also the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the city.
Firstly you have Camden Lock Market, which as the name implies is located on the lock next to the Regent’s Canal. This is the original arts and crafts market in Camden with numerous retail units specialising in the likes of home-made jewellery, vintage clothing, custom items, artwork and gifts.
KERB Camden, located in the same vicinity as Camden Lock Market, is home to a number of London’s top street food traders, including Oli Babas and their famous halloumi fries, freshly rolled pasta from The Cheese Wheel, and delicious burgers from Burger & Beyond. KERB Camden opens one hour later than the rest of the market at 11am, however, from Friday to Sunday it also remains open one hour later until 7pm.
Venture in further and you’ll reach the Stables Market, which occupies the site of a former horse hospital. The Stables Market is home to many small stalls and shops selling alternative clothing, quirky furniture, household goods and antiques.
This particular market is also popular with alternative sub-cultures such as punks, goths and cybergoths, which can be seen most notably in the well-known shop Cyberdog, which sells unique cyber-style neon PVC and rubber clothing.
Lastly, there is Buck Street Market, the covered outdoor market closest to Camden Town Station which you can’t miss due to the large sign above it which reads ‘The Camden Market’. This section of Camden Market focuses predominantly on affordable clothing and touristy knick-knacks.
UPDATE JULY 2020: Camden’s Buck Street Market has undergone a huge renovation project and is now a colourful 3-story building made up of recycled shipping containers and is the UK’s first dedicated market for the conscious consumer, with 26 sustainable food brands and 50 ethical fashion traders.
Camden Market is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm every day of the year other than Christmas day.
Must Eat at Camden Market: Halloumi Fries from Oli Babas
Halloumi Fries – the dish which has been taking over the city in 2018 so far! And there’s nowhere better to sample this delicious dish than Oli Babas street food stall at KERB Camden, where they top the tasty strips of deep-fried cheese with za’atar yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, mint and sumac, creating an all-around taste sensation!
Portobello Road Market
That pretty little row of colourful pastel houses in Notting Hill that you’ve seen all over Instagram… well that’s probably Portobello Road. The road that is home to Nothing Hill’s local antique market which owes much of it’s fame to High Grant and Julia Roberts’ 1999 film of the same name.
The full market runs the length of Notting Hill between Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove tube stations, with different sections of the market specialising in different things.
The southern stretch of Portobello Road Market is predominantly dedicated to antique stalls and shops, making it one of London’s best markets for antique lovers.
The middle of the market is where you’ll find the food stalls, as well as modern fashion and household goods. North Portobello is home to both vintage and new clothing, accessories, collectables and bric-a-brac. And finally, Westbourne Grove is where you’ll find more antique stalls, particularly on a Saturday.
The best day to visit Portobello Road Market is definitely on Saturdays which, despite being the busiest day, is the main trading day where you’ll find the most traders lining the streets. Friday is the dedicated antiques day at the market so is particularly popular with antiques collectors.
During the rest of the week the offering is a bit more limited, with mostly fruit and vegs stalls, household goods and some clothing traders catering mainly to locals.
Portobello Road Market is open 9am to 6pm Mondays to Wednesdays, 9am to 1pm on Thursdays, and 9am to 7pm Fridays and Saturdays.
Must Visit at Portobello Road Market: Alice’s Antiques Shop
It’s difficult to miss the pretty red storefront of Alice’s when wandering down the southern stretch of Portobello Road Market, with its window full of antiques and outside tables covered in cute little knick-knacks and fun souvenirs on market days. Alice’s is a great place to pick up a bargain such as a Notting Hill teapot or quirky and affordable household decor.
If you’ve never been to Portobello Road Market before but recognise the shop, that’s probably because of its starring role as Mr Gruber’s shop in the 2014 film Paddington.
Covent Garden Market
Although Covent Garden manages to find it’s way on to almost every ‘must do in London’ list out there, Covent Garden Market rarely seems to get mentioned, which is surprising considering the area’s long history as a market.
For a large chunk of its past, Covent Garden was home to a world-famous fruit and vegetable market, but due problems with congestion in the area, in 1974 the market was relocated to the ‘New Covent Garden Market’ in Nine Elms, where it has remained ever since.
These days, Covent Garden is better known as being a tourist location with many restaurants, bars and shops filling the iconic square. However, two small markets do remain on the site.
The Covent Garden Apple Market is a craft market in the central building. From Tuesday to Sunday the market is filled with handmade goods, artwork and beautiful crafts, whilst on Mondays you’ll find a one-off antiques and collectables market. The Apple Market is probably most well known for it’s giant mistletoe lights decoration during the Christmas season.
In the South Piazza, you’ll find the lesser known Jubilee Market, with an antiques market on Mondays, a general market on Tuesdays to Fridays, and an arts and crafts market at the weekends.
Covent Garden Markets are open every day from 10am to 6pm.
Moving over to East London you have Spitalfields Market, located in Spitalfields close to Liverpool Street station. The market is covered, making it a great option for the colder winter months, and has a focus on fashion, antiques and food.
The large Spitalfields Market is comprised of two main sections; Old Spitalfields Market, a quirky covered market with plenty of fashion and food traders housed inside one of the best surviving Victorian Market Halls in the capital, and Spitalfield’s Traders Market, which homes a range of independent traders selling unique, artisan and hand-crafted goods.
The market hosts regular and special events, including a Thursday antiques market, a bi-monthly vinyl Market (1st and 3rd Friday of the month), monthly swing dance evenings, Sunday yoga, food festivals, live screenings of special events and much, much more.
Spitalfields Market is open from 10am to 8pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 6pm on Saturdays and 10am to 5pm on Sundays (stalls shut earlier than the kitchens during the week).
Must Visit at Spitalfields Market: The Last Stop For The Curious
Everyone knows hats are so in right now! Whether you’re off to the races, a wedding, or simply enjoying a sunny day out in London, a hat completes a great outfit. And there’s nowhere better to pick up quality vintage, retro and modern hats than The Last Stop For The Curious. Their beautiful collection of hats cater for any age, gender, look and occasion. If you have a slight hat obsession like myself, make sure not to miss this great little stall at Old Spitalfields Market.
Brick Lane Market
Also in London’s East End sits Brick Lane Market, located on – you guessed it – Brick Lane. The area itself is the hub of London’s Bangladeshi community and is famed for being home to some of the best curry restaurants in the capital. However, over recent years, this Shoreditch hotspot has also become increasingly popular with London’s young, edgy and artistic crowd, with quirky bars popping up all over.
Brick Lane Market is also known as the Truman Markets, due to being located in the area of the Old Truman Brewery and being comprised of five different markets; the Boiler House Food Hall, the Tea Rooms, the Backyard Market, the Sunday UpMarket, and the Vintage Market. With it’s combined offering, Brick Lane Market is one of the best markets in London for those who love one-of-a-kind items and hunting down a bargain.
The Backyard Market and the Sunday UpMarket specialise in unique clothing, hand-made accessories, arts and crafts and bric-a-brac. Both of these markets are seen as platforms for young artists and emerging designers to showcase and sell their goods.
The Vintage Market is pretty self-explanatory, selling clothes and accessories from the 1920s to the 1990s, whilst the Tea Rooms (which does serve tea) also has a selection of antiques and second-hand homeware such as typewriters, taxidermy and vintage maps.
Finally, the Boiler House is the market’s dedicated food hall, with over 30 traders serving a variety of international dishes. You can also now head outside to Ely’s Yard Street Food for even more options.
Brick Lane Market’s main day is Sundays, with all areas of the market open between 10am and 5pm. The Backyard Market, Vintage Market, Boiler House and Tea Rooms are open on Saturdays from 11am to 6pm, whilst the Vintage Market is also open Thursdays and Fridays from 11am to 5.30pm.
Must Eat at Brick Lane Market: Battered Chicken from Mother Clucker
Serving out of a converted US Army ambulance in Ely’s Yard in the Old Truman Brewery, Mother Clucker’s tea brined, buttermilk soaked, twice battered fried chicken is without a doubt some of the best chicken in London. Round off a portion of chicken strips with their tasty skinny fries tossed in cajun spices. And when asked if you’d like hot sauce or lime mayo, the answer should definitely be both!
Greenwich Market is London’s only historic market set in a World Heritage Site. The market is located in Greenwich town centre, close to the Old Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark and Greenwich Park, making it the perfect addition to a day out exploring Greenwich.
The market features stalls offering vintage goods and artisan products, as well as many arts and craft stalls selling unique gifts and quirky items. If you’re on the lookout for one of a kind artwork, unique furniture and household items, personalised gifts or handmade greeting cards, this is probably London’s best market for you.
In the courtyard, just outside of the main covered market you’ll find the majority of Greenwich market’s street food offerings, including Pimp My Ramen’s quirky noodle burgers, Victus & Bibo’s delicious lamb and halloumi wraps and the Red Cow Carvery’s classic roast beef dishes.
Inside of the main market area there are also plenty of traders serving sweet treats such as artisan cakes, chocolates, churros and mini pancakes, as well as the Coach and Horses pub so you can stop for a much deserved (obviously!) drink.
Greenwich Market is open from 10am to 5:30pm 7 days a week including bank holidays.
Must Eat at Greenwich Market: Steak Baguette from Red Cow Carvery
The Red Cow Carvery in Greenwich Market is most notably known for its unusual street food dish of beef, roast potatoes and Yorkie puds, however, their steak baguettes certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. The unbelievably huge baguette is stuffed with salad and freshly carved roast beef, then covered in a thick layer of raclette cheese. Certainly not the healthiest of dishes, but this tasty sandwich will probably last you for both lunch and dinner at the reasonable price of £10.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Sunday Columbia Road in East London is transformed into a colourful oasis of beautiful flowers and plants being sold by local traders.
Fellow London blogger Eppie had this to say about Columbia Road:
‘I live down the road from Columbia Flower Market, London’s famous road that is bursting with the scent of florals and sound of bargaining sellers every Sunday. I tend to head down from 3pm to pick up end of the day deals whilst being able to manoeuvre through the cramped street. When the markets not on, Columbia Road is still worth a visit for its quaint cafes, pottery shops and galleries.’
Columbia Road Flower Market is open every Sunday from 8am to 3pm.
Broadway Market is located between the Regent’s Canal and London Fields in Hackney and is known for drawing in London’s hipster community and creative types who live nearby. The market was renovated and relaunched in 2004, turning it from a small fruit and veg market into a bustling street of 135 stalls selling everything from international street food and artisan cakes to vintage clothing, homeware and gifts.
Even during the week when the market isn’t on, Broadway Market is still worth visiting for its cute coffee shops, traditional British Pubs (try The Cat and Mutton) and hipster boutiques.
Broadway Market is open every Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Must Eat at Broadway Market: The Yorkshire Burrito
The Yorkshire Burrito is the original Yorkshire pudding wrap, a unique concept which places meats such as beef, chicken and pork inside a giant Yorkshire pudding alongside other traditional accompaniments such as roast potatoes, crackling, stuffing, greens and even gravy. A proper British dish if there ever was one!
Leather Lane Market
Here’s another one for the foodies out there. Leather Lane is a weekday lunch-time only street food market in Clerkenwell, between Farringdon and Chancery Lane tube stations. In my personal opinion, it is one of the best markets in London for grabbing a tasty and affordable lunch, and a highly underrated hidden gem on London’s foodie scene.
As the name implies, Leather Lane was once a popular clothing and footwear market. To this day the market is still home to a couple of clothing stalls, however, it is much better known for attracting local office workers for its great lunchtime food options.
The down-to-Earth market tends to stay away from the bigger chains and more widely known street food traders, and instead has a wide variety of international dishes, from falafel wraps to jerk chicken and more, cooked up by small traders with a real passion for their food.
One particularly unique selling point of Leather Lane Market is that it is one of very few London markets where you are unlikely to see a tourist or camera in sight. People come to Leather Lane to eat great food and that’s it! So whether you’re a local trying to avoid slow-walking tourists fumbling for a photo, or a tourist looking for an authentic London food experience, this is one not to miss.
Leather Lane market runs on weekdays from 10am to 2pm.
Must Eat at Leather Lane Market: BBQ Pork Rice Bowl from Yum Bowl
Yum Bowl is one of the first stalls you will come across when entering Leather Lane Market from Clerkenwell Road. Serving up classic Vietnamese dishes such as Tom Yum Noodle Soup and Meat and Rice bowls for just £6.50, Yum Bowl is undoubtedly one of the most popular stalls on Leather Lane. My go to is always the delicious BBQ Pork Rice Bowl (if you can’t handle the heat like me, ask them to go easy on the chilli).
Last but certainly not least, I’ve decided to include something a little different. Smithfield Market, located in Farringdon, is the largest wholesale meat market in the UK and one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
Not one for the vegetarians or the late sleepers, Smithfield Market is open from 2am until mid-morning and has been nicknamed the ‘cathedral of meat’, with the Grade II listed Victorian building playing host to 30 traders selling fresh meat to central London’s butchers, shops and restaurants.
The market is open for both trade and to the public, so if you’re interested you can turn up early to wander around the market and watch the daily trade in full swing. You can even take an organised tour of Smithfield Market once a month – check it out here.
Smithfield Market’s official opening times are weekdays between 2am and 8am and if you want to see the market at its best its advisable to arrive before 7am, however, the trade does often continue until mid-morning.
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